These moist and chewy Toasted Pecan and Dark Chocolate Chip Blondies are big, fat, classic blondies perfect for packed lunches, picnics, and care packages ~ stash one in your work tote as a from-me-to-me treat.
Richer than cake, more complex than brownies, so much better than cookies…these toasted pecan and dark chocolate chip blondies are the best-of-all-worlds dessert.
What’s the technical difference between a blondie and a brownie?
- If you’re going by the book, the difference between a blondie and a brownie is that a blondie is based on vanilla and brown sugar, while a brownie is based on cocoa powder.
- Here at tvfgi we don’t always go by the book (who wrote the book, anyway?) But when it comes to blondies we like to play fair. If you look in super close you’ll see that the base of these blondies is, indeed, blonde and not chocolate.
- Blondies are allowed to include add-ins like chocolate chips and nuts, so we’ve taken full advantage and loaded ours to the gills.
If you need to pack a dessert, Blondies are ideal because they’re sturdy and easy to eat out of hand. I love to send them in care packages because they’re so moist they won’t dry out before they reach their destination. I used to send them to my girls every fall when they were in college, along with the always requested Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread. I wrap each brownie or slice of pumpkin bread individually in plastic and they seem to last forever.
Like a great steak, blondies will vary in ‘doneness’ from the edges to the center. If you crave the ooey gooey stuff, go for a center cut. Edge people, you know who you are. You can eat them warm from the oven, room temp, or chilled…they all have their charms.
Tips for making the perfect chewy chocolate chip blondies ~
- Make sure you can count on your oven temperature. If your oven runs hot your blondies will be over cooked. I keep an oven thermometer hanging from my oven rack so I can double check before I slide my pan in. This under $10 item is one of the most important tools in my kitchen.
- Don’t over bake your blondies. Check them with a toothpick but be aware that melted chocolate will probably confuse your results a bit. If you see wet batter, the blondies need a bit more time. Cover with foil if they are browning too quickly.
- If you bake your blondies in a different pan size from the one stated in the recipe, be sure to adjust your cooking time.
This recipe is double packed with an extra dose of toasted pecans and dark chocolate which makes them super chunky and satisfying. Toasting gives the pecans the most wonderful depth of flavor, and makes them even crunchier, so definitely don’t skip that step.
Why I always toast my nuts
A raw nut is fine, but a toasted nut is incredible! The flavor intensifies and the texture gets much crisper, and all this happens after a short 10 minutes or so in a pan on the stove or in the oven. The heat works with the proteins and sugars in the nuts and not only browns them, but explodes the flavors and aromas ~ it’s the same Mailliard Reaction that works miracles in grilled meats and your morning toast.
How to toast nuts ~ 3 ways!
The flavor of nuts positively blossoms when you toast them, and it’s well worth the extra step because that flavor adds tons of character to these blondies. For all methods, let the nuts cool before chopping and using, they will crisp up as they cool.
- method #1
Preheat oven to 350F Spread out nuts on a dry sheet pan. Toast the nuts for 10-15 minutes, giving the pan a shake a couple of times during cooking. Keep an eye on them, because nuts can burn easily, especially if your oven runs hot. This is the best method when you need to toast a larger quantity of nuts.
- method #2
Put the nuts in a skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring constantly, until they turn brown and aromatic. You can do this in a dry skillet, but you can also add a bit of oil or butter which speeds up the process.
- method #3
Put the nuts in the microwave and heat on high for one minute intervals until toasted. Stir between bouts. This method works great for small amounts of nuts.
*This recipe is based on one from Ina Garten’s Foolproof cookbook.
Toasted Pecan and Dark Chocolate Chip Blondies
- an 8×12 or a 9×13 pan
- 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 extra large eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups chopped toasted pecans, instructions below
- 1 lb dark chocolate chips, (457 grams, or approximately 3 cups)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Butter an 8×12 or 9×13 pan and lightly dust with flour, tapping off the extra.
- Cream the soft butter and both sugars in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Let the mixer run on high for 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times.
- Turn the mixer to low and beat in the extract and then the eggs, one at a time, letting one get incorporated before you add the next.
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt, then add it gradually to the mixer, mixing just until combined.
- I like to fold in the chocolate and the nuts with the mixer on low, and then finish by hand just to make sure everything is evenly incorporated.
- Spread the batter into your prepared pan, smoothing it out evenly. Bake for about 35 minutes, or just until set but not over baked. Let cool completely before cutting.
- Note: if the blondies seem to be browning too quickly, loosely cover with foil toward the end of cooking.